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PBA: Alaska halts SMB

by Waylon Galvez

Games Tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5:45 p.m. – Globalport vs Rain or Shine
8 p.m. – San Mig Super Coffee vs Talk ’N Text

Defending champion Alaska won its first back-to-back games last night, snapping San Miguel Beer’s three-game win streak with a 89-78 victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Alonte Sports Center in Biñan, Laguna.

Down by two points, 78-76, with six minutes to play, the Aces used a decisive 13-0 run to claim their third victory in six games, and second straight following their 88-78 triumph over the Air21 Express last March 17.

Sol Mercado actually converted a layup that gave SMB that 78-76 advantage.

However, JV Casio drilled in a booming three-pointer as Alaska grabbed a 79-78 lead, and then import Rob Dozier stretched the Aces’ lead to 81-78 with a pair of foul shots with 2:51 to play.

Cyrus Baguio also came through with a huge triple to make it 84-78, 2:07 left in the game.

The win improved Alaska’s record to 3-3 as it tied Air21 and Meralco, while San Miguel now sports a 5-2 card.

Meanwhile, Meralco has reportedly changed import, as it finally tabbed one-time NBA Darnell Jackson as replacement to Brian Butch, who has helped the team to a 3-3 start this conference.

According to a source, Jackson already joined the Bolts’ practice session last Friday in preparation for their game opposite Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Jackson, who arrived nearly two weeks ago, will bring tons of experience having played in the NBA from 2008 to 2011.

After the Miami Heat selected him in the second round back in 2008 Rookie Draft, the 28-year-old Jackson went on to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers where he was a teammate of Lebron James, and then had stints with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Sacramento Kings.

Expectations will be high on Jackson, as he will take over from Butch, who averaged nearly 28 points and 21 rebounds for Meralco.

After facing Batangay Ginebra, the Ryan Gregorio mentored Meralco will take on Barako Bull on April 11 and Philippine Cup champion San Mig Super Coffee on April 14 for its last game in the elimination round.

Meralco is the fourth team to replace import.

The first to take that route was San Miguel as former NBA player Josh Boone was sent home as the Beermen tabbed Kevin Jones, while the Express replaced Herve Lamizana with Wes Witherspoon, and Rain or Shine replaced Alex McLean with Wayne Chism.